As always, I share the news from Frontier Developments, and FDEV released their results yesterday, for the fiscal year FY20.

The company being public, we can overview the results highlighting information concerning the economic health of the company, but also the progress of their current and future projects.



Recap of FY20

At the gamescom: Opening Night Live event on the evening of 27 August 2020, Frontier revealed three exciting new releases for FY21 (1st of June 2020 to 31 May 2021, FY21):

  • Following the significant success of Jurassic World Evolution on PC, PS4 and Xbox One, Jurassic World Evolution: Complete Edition will bring the full experience to Nintendo Switch™ on November 3, 2020, and is available to pre-order now from the Nintendo eShop.
  • Frontier Foundry, Frontier’s new games label for third-party publishing, revealed its first two titles – the time-twisting turn-based combat strategy shooter Lemnis Gate, and physics-based co-op platformer Struggling. In both of these award-winning games, innovative gameplay sits at the heart of the development process.
    • Struggling is out now on Steam and Nintendo Switch, making it the first Frontier Foundry title to launch and the start of Frontier Foundry’s contribution to the Company, which is expected to become material to Frontier’s overall business in the next few years.
    • Lemnis Gate is available to wishlist on Steam now, and will be launching on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in early 2021, falling within FY21.

David Braben, Chief Executive, said:

« We’ve announced further releases to an already exciting line-up for FY21.  Our team has done an amazing job developing strong releases for all four of our existing titles, and I am also looking forward to seeing the reaction to our first two Frontier Foundry games – Struggling and Lemnis Gate.« 

After a strong end of FY20, notably « thanks » to the lockdowns around the world this year, sales of all FDev games have been in line with their expectations. Based on their current performance and projections for FY21, FDev is on track to generate income in the upper half of their analysts’ current forecast range: between £83-95million by the end of FY21.

With 6.7M£ in 2016, 12.6 M£ in 2017, £30M in 2018 thanks to Tencent and 35.3M£ in 2019… Frontier Developments now have a Net Cash of 45.8M£ !
Exactly in their predictions, Frontier reported £76.1M in Revenue for a profit of £16.6M in FY20, bringing in a 22% margin over their expenses: some excellent results.

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More about Frontier Developments PLC

This chapter details Frontier’s strategy in FY20 called « Launch and Nurture », allowing the company to release Planet Zoo successfully while maintaining their other titles (at a minimum) during their transition to a new era for Frontier.

Indeed, the new era isn’t just for Elite Dangerous with the upcoming “Odyssey” paid expansion. Frontier Developments PLC has hired and continues to recruit new employees thanks to the large profits they are making, in order to continue and expand their empire while developing Frontier Foundry; An additional project allowing the parent company to publish games from third-party developers, for example recently with Struggling and Lemnis Gate. Frontier doesn’t take care of the development of these titles, thus saving their developers for other internal projects. They offer their experience in marketing, communications and the high visibility they now have with their portfolio. This allows them to make profits relatively easily in order to continue their growing developments on their own licenses made in Frontier.
Lately they were even looking for a Motion Capture Specialist (gone in 2 days), which promises some interesting things for the future of Frontier games.

We learn the following details from the 2020 Annual Report:

  • A fourth successful new game launched by Frontier

    • Planet Zoo released successfully in November 2019, quickly establishing itself as a genre leader, reflecting its rich, authentic animal and management simulations, with the tools which enable players to craft and share the most beautiful creations with a large and growing game community
    • Over 1.0 million base game units sold in under six months
    • Strong engagement with free content and PDLC (Paid DLC) has helped to keep players active, attract new players and generate additional revenue, with the Arctic pack released just before Christmas, the South American pack at Easter and the Australia pack which launched in August, after the end of FY20
  • Frontier’s ‘launch and nurture’ portfolio strategy continues to deliver
    • Frontier reduces risk by identifying opportunities to create genre-leading games that build on its strengths and unique track record
    • Post-launch, Frontier nurtures its games for many years through community engagement and additional content
    • Elite Dangerous continues to grow, with the success of the recent Fleet Carriers update helping to achieve its highest ever player numbers. Elite Dangerous: Odyssey, our major new paid-for update to launch in calendar Q1 2021 (in FY21, before March 31), was revealed in June 2020 to positive reception
    • Planet Coaster also continues to grow, making more revenue in FY20 than in FY19, wholly on PC. We have announced Planet Coaster is coming to Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 later this year
    • Jurassic World Evolution benefitted from several PDLC packs in FY20, including the Jurassic World Evolution: Return to Jurassic Park pack at Christmas, our most successful PDLC to date, which continues to perform well. Jurassic World Evolution: Complete Edition is coming to the Nintendo Switch on 3 November 2020
    • Nearly 60% of revenue in FY20 was generated by Elite Dangerous (25/27% from Elite), Planet Coaster and Jurassic World Evolution, illustrating the ongoing popularity of the Company’s games, and the success of Frontier’s launch and nurture strategy in generating strong returns over many years
    • Over 10 million base game units sold across our four titles as of 31 May 2020 (Elite Dangerous 3.5 million, Planet Coaster 2.5 million, Jurassic World Evolution 3.0 million and Planet Zoo 1.0 million)
  • Strategic progress with new IP licences and the addition of third-party publishing
    • IP licence signed for annual releases of Formula 1 management games from 2022 onwards
    • IP licence signed with Games Workshop for a real-time strategy game based on the popular Warhammer Age of Sigmar brand
    • Frontier Foundry, our own games label for third-party publishing, started strongly with six games signed to date, including one already released (Struggling), one more announced and more coming soon (Lemnis Gate).

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FDev FY21

If 2020 has been a record year for Frontier Developments, the year 2021 is set to be even bigger and while I had first calculated £100m in revenue for FY21, their analysts are more cautious an calculated they will reach £90m to a maximum of £95m.

I think that if Elite Dangerous Odyssey meets the long-awaited success and offers regular updates for the community, they will surpass £100M in revenue without too much problems, with a total of 3 games published by Frontier Foundry in FY21 and additional sales on Planet Coaster arriving on new platforms, but also Jurassic World Evolution & RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 on Nintendo Switch. The ball’s in their court.

  • Current trading and outlook: Strong roadmap for FY21 and beyond
    • Sales across all our games in FY21 to date have been consistent with expectations after a strong close to FY20
    • Our fantastic team continue to deal positively with the challenges posed by Covid-19; continuing to develop new content and support our existing games, and each other
    • Major platform launches for existing titles in FY21 – Planet Coaster is coming to PlayStation and Xbox and Jurassic World Evolution and RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 are coming to the Nintendo Switch
    • A new era for Elite Dangerous in FY21 with Elite Dangerous: Odyssey coming in calendar Q1 2021
    • Two award-winning new games launching from Frontier Foundry in FY21: Struggling and Lemnis Gate
    • On track to deliver record revenue in FY21 within the range of £90 million to £95 million
    • Two major new multi-platform internally-developed game releases scheduled for each of FY22 and FY23, each benefitting from world class IP licences

David Braben, Chief Executive, said:

« I am delighted to report on a year of great progress for Frontier. We achieved our biggest PC launch to date with Planet Zoo, we agreed two major new IP licences and we have now signed our first six Frontier Foundry third-party publishing deals. It’s all thanks to our terrific team, who coped so well during the Covid-19 lockdown, and our ever growing player communities around the world. During the lockdown, we have seen an accelerated move towards digital sales of games and many more people becoming gamers, as games become an ever-more vital component of the entertainment industry. Rich, community-focused games like ours that are attractive to play but take years to master, have performed very well during these challenging times, and we have every expectation of them continuing to do so, notwithstanding the macroeconomic uncertainties presented by the Covid-19 pandemic. We have started the financial year well and are on track to deliver record revenue in line with our expectations. Our future looks bright with multiple major releases confirmed for FY21 and an exciting roadmap for FY22 and beyond, adding great relationships with Formula 1 and with Games Workshop to an already rich portfolio.« 

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Source – London Stock Exchange